Posts Tagged ‘christianity’

Conservative Martyrs

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

As we look back over the wreckage of the past two centuries, a time during which Leftist power steadily increased, we have to wonder: why are our conservatives so inept?

The first reason of course is that people love to be on the winning side, and the Left with its policy of social inclusion is always more popular in terms of sheer numbers. However, among groups of the notoriously competent, conservative ideals — or at least unarticulated gut-level instincts — prevail.

Another reason may be that conservatives defeat themselves by misunderstanding conservatism. The root of conservatism, or the Right, has been with us since the dawn of time, but it was formalized in response to the French Revolution: the Right were those who liked the way things were before, and the Left were the egalitarians who wanted a world based on Enlightenment™-era conjectures about equality and universalism.

For the Right, this meant that defeat was a foregone conclusion. The old order had been replaced, and we were trying to carry it forward as a values system, using Leftist methods as a basis for its justification. This perverted what we knew, and created a hybrid which in the nature of all hybrids, defaulted toward the simpler of its two parents: Leftism.

Out of this duality of mindset we got lots of brave and bold posturing about “standing athwart progress, yelling ‘stop'” and other forms of martyrdom. A martyr wins by losing — as opposed to civilizations, which lose by winning and then attracting parasites — and sacrificing himself to his cause.

Only, if the martyr does not die, he might as well enjoy a few well-earned comforts of life…

This leads us to the mentality of conservatives. They have abandoned winning, which would involve restoring civilization as it was in 1788, with aristocrats, strong nationalism and culture, hierarchy and a values system including an inherently but not explicitly transcendental view of life. They have accepted the enemy within their gates, and are looking for a compromise, which causes them to see themselves as martyrs, and so instead of focusing on the hard task of fixing the decline, they rationalize it and instead, focus on enriching themselves and being socially popular.

In a nutshell, this explains why conservatives are both strikingly ineffective and prone to being selfish and focused on business alone. They have given up on changing society. Instead they concentrate on image and money, religion and virtue signaling, and in fact basically everything that makes them comfortable while ignoring what they should be doing, which is reversing decline.

It is hard to find a clearer statement of this than with this apology for selfishness that justifies ignoring the problem, leading to another generation of fat old conservatives obsessed with money and church, but oblivious to the actual problem and committed to never risking their own fortunes to fix it:

And that’s where the Church must come in. As we go about “being the church” as Chuck liked to say, loving God, loving our neighbors as ourselves, letting our light and good deeds shine before men, pointing toward every human’s true hope in Jesus Christ and God the Father, then we’ll have a greater and greater impact on those around us, and on the culture, and in the end, our local and national politics.

And of course, we can do this only by drawing nearer corporately and individually to Jesus, seeking fellowship with Him and with each other.

Naturally, it is followed by a subtle plea for donations. What is interesting about this article is that it borrows an alt right trope for its minimum truth quotient — because all great lies begin with partial truths, selectively omitting that which does not fit the manipulative narrative to come — by acknowledging that culture is upstream of politics:

We talk a lot on BreakPoint about what the French philosopher and theologian Jacques Ellul called the “political illusion”—the idea that our problems are primarily political ones with political solutions.

…Politics most often is downstream of culture. Culture will shape politics. And as Chuck said during his final speech, the culture is shaped by “the cult,” its belief system, what people truly believe and care about.

In other words, they want you to replace cultural awareness with religious fanaticism, repeating the same errors that has made conservatism a failure for decades and are guiding the church to lower attendance across the board. We do not want to replace culture with the cult of Christ. We want culture first, and Christianity to fall in line in support of culture.

One reason to enjoy Bruce Charlton — probably the leading Christian reactionary out there — is that he pairs the practical and the spiritual by calling for conversion to Christianity, but a type of Christianity that emphasizes realistic action:

Your choice is simply whether to surrender, as usual, to go-with-the-flow. Or not-to-surrender. To refuse. That is as much as most people are given to ‘fight’ over. Nothing glamourous – simply saying ‘no, I won’t’. It is enough – it is everything.

He is suggesting that conservatives do the opposite of what they have done for centuries: instead of going along with the flow while enriching ourselves and acting out a martyr syndrome by being right instead of effective — it is always easier to make a few statements and then go back to earning money than it is to change the direction of history — as they have been, conservatives need to change direction and focus on resistance to conformity by demanding conservative change instead.

This is news to all the conservative martyrs and wannabe theocrats out there, most of whom are seeing dollar signs for themselves more than a path to victory for their cultures, who are caught in the narcissism/solipsism/individualism/egotism of “the Me Generation” (Baby Boomers) and the previous generation, the “Greatest Generation,” who serve nothing but their own selfish interests at the expense of their nation, and even their religion.

After all, the lesson of Christ is that it is necessary to become spiritually clear, but also to take action. He did not come in peace, but with a sword, dividing us against each other much like Brexit and the Trump election: realists on one side, individualists on another. He overturned tables of money-changers, drove out Pharisees and sophists, and otherwise said NO in the strongest terms possible.

Sadly for them, most conservatives are on the side of the money-changers. They will talk a good game, but all they do is rant a bit to let off steam, then go back to working “hard” at their jobs, hoarding money, paying taxes to those liberal welfare programs, and in their hearts, rationalizing their selfishness by the very fact that they cannot see a way conservatism can win.

Those on the Alt Right have a different message: conservatism not only can win, but must win. Our civilization, long in decline, now has a chance to turn back from the final death-spiral. It is always darkest just before dawn, and one must hit rock bottom in order to climb back up, and this is what the Alt Right wants to do.

To all conservative martyrs, I suggest a different approach. They must redeem themselves by admitting their hubris, changing their ways, and donating half of their hoarded wealth to the Alt Right. Only then will we respect them as moral people of worth. Only then will Generation X stop kicking over their graves and spitting on their memorials, as it is right to do. Only then do they really become… conservatives.

Western Religion (And Religious Westernism)

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

Among us now come many who have staked all of their hopes on a single tool to fix a complex situation, for example, religion. Many especially among our most learned and thoughtful believe that society must begin again with religion as the tool that makes this happen, but they would produce the worst of possible results, much as happened when Hitler treated race the same way: as a tool.

Our time is ruled by social popularity, democratic voting and consumer-based industry. We are accustomed to creating tools, whether physical or institutional, that shape people around us by forcing all of them through a filter. In this filter, they must either obey the dogma or face some kind of sanctions, although those seem only to fall on the good taxpayers and not those who make lives of crime.

The problem with tools is that they not only fail to contain meaning, or knowledge of goals (“ends”), but that they actively displace meaning. Your mind only has so much space of focus, and if all of the focus goes into methods (“means”) instead of ends, then the reasoning behind doing things is lost. This allows fools to compete with the wise by emulating them, and the audience cannot tell the difference.

Of those people who want religion to save the West — fundamentalists, evangelicals, some traditionalists and pentacostals — the analysis remains consistent because it has been so for the past two hundred years. They talk a good deal about morality, and how they will set an example, which turns out to mean they will go to their church, drop out of society at large, earn money and pay taxes.

In short, they will not fight the enemy, but will enrich themselves, and in the meantime, be the good stupid little sheep that any parasitic system needs. If you want to know why people are fleeing churches, it is that the Christian conservatives act like morons, and the rest of the flock is too busy trying to be hip, young and liberal so they can get some of those donations, but it never works for long.

People who are trying to use religion to save the West have made religion into a political organ. They want to use it like a tool to filter people and force us all to obey what becomes a de facto ideology. In other words, they make religion into liberalism by attempting to use it as a force against liberalism.

A more sensible vision, as offered on this site, is that we will not have a single over-arching theory as liberals do. Even conservatism itself has two general planks, time-proven methods and transcendental goals. Religion is part of this, possibly an inseparable part, but it is not the core. The core is a desire to be realistic and from that, to choose what is best for ourselves and recognize that the rest of humanity will not. That leads to something like our four pillars, varied methods shaped around the goal of excellence through realism and self-discipline.

In other words, our basic outlook has to be evolutionary. We rise because we target excellence, but most of the world will always be a human wasteland because most people are dishonest because they are solipsistic, in the eternal weakness of humankind. Our big brains become mental bubbles in which we live while life passes by outside, and we waste our time on garbage instead of making greatness of our days.

Every part of life demands greatness. Even the simplest acts of craftsmanship, agriculture and day-to-day leadership can be improved qualitatively as an infinite dimension. There is always room to be go further, but it is not through a change in methods, but through refinement of our understanding, self-discipline, aesthetics and other inner skills.

We do not know what the future holds for us, but it seems likely that there will be a rebirth of Western religion. This will occur through a desire to restore the West by finding reality, and will emerge from our focus on what is real, which includes religion but is not limited to it. Religion in fact can serve as a proxy, a game or a legal puzzle, for understanding this reality. The tool then becomes the master, and the master the slave.

This religion may even be a revitalized Christianity. Writers like J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Paul Woodruff and T.S. Eliot have given us a vision of what that might be like, with Tolkien and Woodruff leading the pack. But more likely, the strength of Christianity — its communication through fable and laws — will be its downfall. In our new complex era, we need something more.

Another writer, Michel Houellebecq, expresses something else: admiration for Christianity, but recognition that its vitality has faded, and so it needs to be restarted and renewed, if not remade in our image. We do not need a Western religion; we need a religious Westernism, a belief in ourselves in our goodness that includes the will to find God in all things, but not through the tired manipulations of the flagging church.

It is likely that the Western religion will be like our original pagan faiths, unwritten and in fact, not formalized. It will not be used as a tool, where the religion is the means of changing our motivation, but will be discovered as part of daily life. The ancients might have said to us that they did not have religion, only an awareness of an order within the patterns of life, and that this transparency allowed them to avoid turning it into a dogma, an ideology and a tool.

Our original religion comes from nature and is based in the idea that nature reflects a more complex order than man, because man must fit into this order. We study patterns and from them, can make some conclusions which are firmer than any material objects in their prevalence in our lives. For example, we notice that life seems to strive for beauty, balance, harmony and purpose, always refining itself toward greater complexity which is a form of simplicity with many layers, not lots of unconnected detail in the modern “complex” way that is really ornamentation.

To the ancients, religion was inseparable from any other form of knowledge. They knew that the natural world was everything, but that it had layers which are not visible to the living, and it has spaces to which the non-living pass, but that these are battlegrounds not of good versus evil but order versus randomness, with evil being an agent of that randomness because it is moral selfishness, or hubris.

Their beliefs were logical and rigorously ordered, not symbolic as the Asiatic religions were, and they were not backward like the process of using religion as a political tool. Instead, they sought to put each thing in its place, and then improve everything qualitatively according to the order found in nature. This is a more mature faith than what we have now, and the only type of belief that can aid us in our task of restoration.

Women Are Not Machines

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

On the Right, the temptation is to realize that the all of the assumptions that form the basis of our current society are lies, and therefore to go the exact opposite direction.

This is a strategic error.

The opposite of what we have now is the same mental state with a different starting direction. Because it is the same mental state, whatever direction you take will lead to the same cycle, and opposite extremes will connect. That will re-create the same problems we have now, but also create the ultimate crypto-disaster scenario: we will think we have solved the problem, but in fact, will have made it more entrenched.

What this means is that we cannot avoid the crisis by attempting to be its opposite. We must find a different direction instead, and reach toward that instead of merely pushing away from what we know.

Nowhere is this dilemma clearer than in the Red Pill attitude toward women. Sure, you reject the modern view that women are special snowflakes who are entitled to be whores whenever is convenient, and who in a political sense serve as usual idiots obsessed with womanhood. Your average woman may be that; the smarter ones, obviously, resist it and many break free. But you need another view of women that is not entrenched in the modern illusion.

Arising from the Rightist view that most human behaviors are deterministic, and the introspective without experience nature of the solitary male, the tendency of Red Pilled males — especially those from STEM backgrounds — is to treat women like some kind of alien life form, or even a mysterious machine. Press the right buttons, and you are in control, and can direct the machine as you see fit.

Look at this well-intentioned but unrealistic mating test for potential wife fodder [email author] for the STEM autist Christian Right:

10. Husbands

Explain the roles of a man in a marriage, and tell me some of the things you would do in order to help your man to achieve those roles. What groups would oppose your husband from fulfilling those roles, and what have you done in your life to prepare yourself to help your husband in his roles? What are some of the most important things that a man needs from a woman, and what specific things should a wife do to provide them?

SAMPLE ANSWER: Men are supposed to be protectors, providers and moral/spiritual leaders. In order to help men to be protectors, women have to give them time to study to discern truth from lie, and support their ability to be physically strong, and to own firearms. It is also a good idea for women to have a positive view of good men who use force to restrain evil, as with the American military. Women should support the use of force against radical Islam and terrorists, as well. In order to help men to be providers, women have to advocate for fiscal conservatism in the public square. That would mean advocating for lower taxes, less government spending and smaller government. It would also mean being frugal in the home and helping the man to move ahead at work. If the children are up and out of the house, it could mean going back to work or starting a business to help make ends meet – or monitoring investments. For a man to be a moral and spiritual leader, a woman has to be supporting of him making moral judgments in the home, disciplining the children, holding her accountable for moral errors, and for making exclusive truth claims when it comes to spiritual things. She should not censor him when he gets into debates about spiritual things, even if other people who disagree feel bad – so long as he is not being a jerk. Her goal is not to be popular or liked, but to support her husband in his roles. The most important thing a man needs is respect, and that means treating him as important and significant, being grateful for his contributions, soliciting his opinion on things, being mindful of his male nature, which is more visual and sexual.

These are sample answers he wants from any wife candidate to show that she is oriented in the right direction. It is both test and contract, not just killing the romance, but introducing a misery and tedium that should kill the relationship quickly.

His plan treats women as some kind of coin-operated machine. Put in your coin, select the right button, and take her home like you would any other product. This is not only unrealistic, but entirely contrary to the nature of traditional attitudes toward family. However, it is exactly the type of thinking that one can expect from STEM people who have not reached beyond their comfort zones.

The West understood romantic love once, and you can see it in classics like Pride and Prejudice, but this notion has been washed away under the onslaught of prole notions of sex=love and commercial ideas of how to sell people on perpetual childhood so they can be perfect domesticated product-buyers, fundamentally miserable and thus always in need.

But the scary fact is that people are individuals, and romantic love was not about sexual attraction, but finding someone comparable to oneself with whom one could spend a lifetime. The romantics bonded their ideals intensely to death in order to achieve this time scale, and the vision of love they found was about what everyone hopes for: someone to grow old with and never feel out of place. This is compatible with genetic determinism because people are looking at inner traits of others, which starts with general race, ethnic, caste, class and social compatibility on a genetic level.

In this way, romantic love was utterly opposed to the idea of universalism, or that all people were essentially the same. Instead, it sought the union of individuals matched in ability, inclination and aesthetics. This formed the basis for a lifelong friendship and partnership which could result in family and have that family be content because the parents just made sense together.

STEM-addicts/MRAs and others are caught in the utilitarian idea that all people are the same, and this perverts the ancient knowledge of biological determinism. Under the egalitarian ideal, people are basically the same and can be manipulated by the same incentives and punishments. Under the romantic ideal, in contrast, it is the exceptional and unique nature of people that allows two to match up as a couple and then a family. Biological determinism supports the latter — unique traits — over the former, which emphasizes uniform traits in denial of nature and reality.

In reality, what we can observe matches the romantic notion more than the STEM mechanistic one. People differ widely. Some match up because they are similar in position in the hierarchy of humanity, and matched by temperament. This creates a solid basis for lifetime interaction that brings about the most pleasurable result of all possibilities, including remaining single or a less committed marriage.

This cannot be forced with the industrial-style, control-based and mechanistic view of women that sees them as objects to be manipulated. Relationships and marriage are partnerships based on the moral choices of individuals and their aptitudes, not forcing people into manipulative frameworks which treat them as little more than robots.

Traditional roles exist for a reason, and if we become separated from that reason, we are nothing more than repeaters of the methods of the past without understanding the purpose. Every household needs a leader, or each decision will become a debate, so we choose the person optimized for leadership style decisions, which is the male. Balancing that, women provide a counterpoint: an understanding of detail, depth and sensation that allows for the configuration of a happy home. The two balance one another, and the leadership role of the male does not entail the loss of autonomy and authority by the female. To act otherwise is to defile the traditional institution of marriage, and replace it with a thoroughly modern notion of control.

Under control, each person is seen as a means to an end, and this is fulfilled by having the all use exactly the same methods to agitate for an ideological purpose. Even reality becomes a means to an end under this mentality, which filters what is compatible with the ideology and rejects the rest of the data. Control makes people into idiots, but it is required for egalitarianism to exist as has been creeping into the West for the past thousand years.

In addition, with these extreme doctrinaire STEM-Christian types of thinker, we see that religion serves as a proxy for culture/race:

My purpose in marrying is to make the marriage promote the things that God likes, and oppose the things that God doesn’t like.

In my case that means:

  • impacting the university with apologetics and conservatism
  • impacting the church with apologetics and conservatism
  • impacting the public square to promote policies that enable Christian living
  • producing as many effective, influential children as I can afford to raise

In particular, with this writer, we can see that his adherence to Christianity is in part an attempt to staunch the blatant cultural confusion:

My mother is a Muslim-raised agnostic. My father is a Catholic-raised agnostic. Half of my father’s family is mostly Hindu, and some Catholic. My mother’s family is mostly Muslim and some atheist.

Christianity is a part of the singular healthy civilization design for the West, but it is not the whole of it, nor the core of it. The core of it is a desire to do good and be excellent, to aspire to more than our domesticated livestock lives of jobs, credit cards and shopping. We need to want to be great again. If we do that, we will have Christianity, as part of our sensible society but not attempting to lead it, because we need kings to do that and history shows us it will be disastrous if we let priests compete with kings for power. What that means is that Christian fanaticism is not “the” answer even if it is part of the answer.

Unfortunately, modern people are inculcated in the mentality of a one-size-fits-all solution that can be implemented immediately by either overwhelming force (government) or mass conformity (control). The STEM mentality plays into this because STEM fields specialize in knowing how to do things without ever knowing how to assess the goal and why it is important.

When this mentality is applied to women, it produces a robotic pre-emptive knee-jerk view that guarantees misery. Most of these guys will end up with fetal alcohol syndrome wives or other complacent, somewhat stupid women; this is why the great White Nationalist dream is either to run off to Eastern Europe or Asia for a bride. It is not that they believe these places are better, as they loudly say, but that they want a little robot to apply their robotic thinking to so that they do not need to interrupt their own solipsistic, narcissistic or egotistic narrative.

In this way, they are identical to Leftists.

As with most things in life, the question of relationships is nuanced. Here are a few very general thoughts:

  1. Find someone like you. People are happiest with other people who are like them in terms of not only race and ethnic group, but caste/class and general outlook (extravert/intravert, right/left, outdoor/indoor and others). Not only is communication much easier, but you are headed in the same direction morally and existentially, which means there is less to negotiate over. You want someone from roughly the same background, ability level and moral outlook. This part is genetic determinism: the woman who is most like you will be the one you appreciate the most. This does not mean she will not challenge you.
  2. Roles are not properties. Men and women serve complementary roles; the contemporary church (idiots all) interpret this as equal roles because in the modern time, you never get in trouble for saying that equality is the principle of everything since the dawn of time. However, it actually means entirely different and unequal roles that balance one another, such that each sex has a domain of its own. This principle exists for efficiency: when quick action must be taken, the person in charge of that domain just does it, instead of being boring modern bovines who like to stand around “discussing” every issue until boredom and failure set in. You do not “own” each other or have absolute “rights.” Instead, you are working together by surrendering your identity to the family, and beyond that, God and the nation.
  3. Love is not linear. When you love someone, you may be mad at them but you will never hate them. You are not there to force them to do anything, but to nurture them so that they may rise to their greatest possible heights. It does not resemble a lab experiment nor a right. Instead, you must cooperate, this requires each person to understand the goal and principles and work toward them in their own way. These contributions will not be the same, or necessarily comprehensible to one another. That is fine too.
  4. If you are not finding women, change your life. “All the good girls are gone!” they say, throwing up their hands. This is self-pity and it will ruin your life. Go somewhere else, and think about what women like to do, not what you do. Be prepared to treat this as a long-term project, meaning that you do a little bit every day. Volunteer at your church, go back to school, work at an animal shelter, take cooking classes, spend time jogging or just walking in public parks, and — most importantly — explore the people your people knew back when you were kids. You will find the most likely candidates in people with backgrounds like yours, from neighborhoods like yours, whose genetics are similar to those of their parents, who probably befriended yours because they are similar.
  5. Get rid of the disposable mentality. You will meet many women. You will court a few who are special. Among those, if you stop courting them, it will be for a solid reason: you found something no-fly zone about them, or they did about you. This means fundamental incompatibility, not inconvenience. Knowing the difference between those two is vital. When you find someone compatible, be aware that there will be rough edges. She may have a semi-unfortunate sexual history, have a kid from a failed marriage, or have once been a Democrat. If she has figured her way out of the pitfall, then she is still worth pursuing and not disposable. This means you accept some bad with the good so long as the bad does not overwhelm the good. If you go looking for a Hollywood vision, you will find nothing, because Hollywood has always been illusion in every area.

Humans suffer from one essential evil, and that is self-centeredness. We do what is mentally convenient and ignore what we have an obligation to notice. This, unlike Hollywood evil — where the evil intends to be evil — is the source of all of our downfalls, and is manifested in behaviors like solipsism, individualism, egotism and narcissism. Treating other people like machines, or as categories instead of individuals, is one manifestation of this behavior.

Again, we cannot defeat modernity by attempting its opposite. We can however have a different goal, and if that is tradition and health, we will naturally curve away from the insane behaviors of modernity and find ourselves in a new place. But with women, as with many other areas, this requires a nuanced, detailed and balanced look instead of a robotic STEM-tard rigidity.

Separating Rightists With Religion From “The Religious Right”

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

From The Wall Street Journal, a comment on the dangerous rise of the “Religious Right”:

Conservative Christians who had despaired of the country’s direction under President Barack Obama—and of developments such as the legalization of same-sex marriage—now expect to wield influence in an administration that they helped bring to power.

They are pressing for a ban on late-term abortions; expanded accommodation for religion in the workplace, at hospitals and elsewhere; and, above all, the appointment of conservative judges.

…In the long term, many evangelicals are hoping that conservative judges will overturn rulings on social issues including gay marriage and Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court case that established a nationwide right to abortion access.

This post is not a rant against religion or religious conservatives, but it is a warning about “the religious Right,” who are a single-issue special interest group that has a tendency to hijack the greater Rightist agenda toward realism and replace it with a highly symbolic agenda. This is also not to say they are wrong on issues like abortion and gay marriage; in fact they are correct. However, they have put the details which will emerge from the bigger picture before achieving that bigger picture, and thus they are defeat monkeys who will (as they did in the 1980s) parasitize and deprecate the Right.

One of the great illusions of our time is that religion is impractical when the opposite is true. The practice of spirituality has intense real-world value and is necessary for making sense of the parts of our world that are not physical, including the condition of our own minds and the self-discipline required to rise about the default bog-normal Simian state of humanity. Religion, like history and literature, compiles human knowledge of what worked best and worst over the years, giving us directions instead of static rules.

For this reason, any realistic movement will discover a need for spirituality in time, and more importantly, will end the insanity of the society around it so that it can nurture a spiritual or religious movement without it getting obliterated by the chaos around it. This allows for a boostrapping process of civilization renewal: a feedback loop is established between power and culture, with the former protecting the latter so that it can grow and inform and expand the former.

Trying the opposite approach — hoping for a religious revival that somehow fixes everything else — ends in tears because religion is part of but not equal to the process of civilizational restoration. The religious fanatics will either retreat into their own bubbles, or campaign for power, and by pursuing symbolic goals rather than realistic ones, fail to achieve long-term popularity and thus quickly be dispensed with as they were in the 1990s. No one is sorry to see the PMRC or moralistic groups — including non-religious ones like MADD — pass on.

Right now, the last thing we need is a religious crusade; we need hard practical change for survival, including the removal of the triad of demographic genocide laws — affirmative action, anti-discrimination and civil rights — that ensure our people are last in line for jobs, housing, benefits and as a result are effectively being driven out of society. We need to protect ourselves so that in the future, with greater health, we can then create a healthy society, including but not limited to religion.

What we need then is a rise in “Rightists with religion,” or people who want realism plus transcendentalism including religion, instead of “the religious Right.” This seems counter-intuitive but it provides us with the basis for civilization renewal, and within that, the rebirth of religion that is as realistic as the civilization, without all of the symbolism and emotion that might make us put the cart before the horse.

Christian Reaction

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

As Neoreaction fades into a type of extreme Libertarianism that guarantees it will be absorbed by demotist forces with credit cards instead of ballots, more are considering the basic idea of Reaction itself: that modernity, based in equality applied by government, is a path to suicide and that we need cultural, religious and leadership guidance instead.

One form that appears fascinating is Christian Reaction, or the group of Reactionaries who base their worldview in a resurrected Christian nation instead of a purely leadership or cultural solution. The good side of this is that what they advocate is necessary and positive; the bad side is that sometimes, it can replace other things that need to be done, and become a scapegoat or false solution.

Where the Christian Reactionaries are most correct is at their core, which has two parts:

  • Morality. Civilizations die because their citizens become individualistic after there is too much tolerance for not-good people, usually during wartime or plagues when extra hands are needed. The natural tendency of civilization however is to increase social order, so that more survive, and to spare lives from the horrors of the pre-civilization era. The only way to restrain this natural entropy is to have a society that is morally alert to all transgressions, no matter how small, and constantly shedding those who are inclined toward any path other than good. This seems too extreme to most, so they settle for throwing out the extreme bad instead of generally removing the failed, and Christian Reaction has no patience for this.
  • Self-Discipline. Spiritual practice occurs through the denial of impulses and a redirection of that energy toward wholesome things. In particular, prayer and meditation increase focus, especially among the intelligent, who are otherwise prone to become chaos monkeys indulging in personal pretense and thus splitting society into many directions, few of which are relevant. Christian Reaction emphasizes personal growth through self-discipline and the necessity of it as a basis for society as a whole.

At the end of much of philosophy, we arrive at these two concepts as the only way to slow or prevent civilization decline. It cannot be done with authority alone, nor by filtering out the bad alone, because it is necessary to redirect the normal and intelligent toward the good, including things that seem “un fun” like chastity, relative sobriety, pride in tribe, and focus on moral goods — aspiration to excellence — above all else.

Unfortunately, Christianity today is a ruin and it has been for many centuries. In particular, the Catholic popes interfered with the absolute rule of the kings, introducing the kind of committee politics that specialize in making bad decisions in order to avoid upsetting the varied special interest groups sitting at the table. At this point, almost all churches are fallen, chasing Leftist ideals as a vain hope for restoring the people who once attended, forgetting that people come to church for the kind of discipline, purpose and guidance that only religion can provide.

In particular, the Catholic churches are worst about this, identifying with the victim narrative and opposing any kind of strong and healthy power that might compete with the church and papacy. This makes them toxic in every way and prone to thwarting the exercise of necessary changes. Traditional Western European focus is less Protestant than anti-Catholic, as we saw with the Nativist movements and the conversion of much of Europe. The popes thwarted the kings, and so sensible people ejected the popes.

Many on the Christian Reaction front call sensibly for a renewal of Christianity through a return to its core focus, including its Greco-Roman, Nordic Pagan and Hindu roots, among the many other influences that were compiled into the Bible. The point here is to not get caught up in specifics and rules, but look at the purpose of the religion, which is a meditative realism leading to transcendental understanding.

Some advocate a monistic Christianity. This is important because its opposite, dualism, argues for the presence of two worlds: a perfect heaven and an imperfect earth. This causes disregard of what happens in this world in anticipation of the next, and conveys the notion that the rules of this world are nonsense or illogical, both of which propel Christians toward emotional but unrealistic paths.

If Christian Reaction has its way, a future Christianity will be both more militant and more naturalistic. It will not fall into the easy excuses of being individualistic or ignoring the world. It will be an active, warlike Christianity that even Fred Nietzsche could approve of. For this reason, even metaphysical skeptics have reason to explore Christian Reaction.

Secularization Is A Disaster

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

From the often-correct Dennis Prager, an analysis of the effect of secularization on followers of religions with binary morality:

When Jews abandoned Judaism, many of them did not abandon Judaism’s messianic impulse. From Karl Marx – the grandson of two Orthodox rabbis – and onwards, they simply secularized it and created secular substitutes, such as Marxism, humanism, socialism, feminism and environmentalism.

If left-wing Jews want to sit shiva, they should do so for their religion, which, like much of Protestant Christianity and Roman Catholicism, has been so deeply and negatively influenced by leftism.

Herein is an explanation for both the role of Jews in Left-leaning politics and the answer to Nietzsche’s riddle about the role of Christianity in birthing the Enlightenment.™

As Nietzsche guessed, Leftism is a zombie philosophy carrying on from where the religion originally regulated, but the goals had been forgotten as had the essential religious aspect of desiring excellence by a standard outside of humans, and this removal left only the Crowd-friendly individualistic idea which holds that doing good to individuals is the only good.

Whenever a historical shift occurs, zombie philosophies are created as people try to carry on what worked in the past despite lacking a central part of its concept. This could apply to the brain-dead conservatives of the 1980s who blindly applied religion and censorship to try to hold on to an order that gave up in 1968.

This shows us that the answer to our dilemma is not anti-Christianity nor anti-Semitism, but in combining forces to smash egalitarianism through its essential individualism as enforced by a group. Focus on realistic and transcendental goals causes the mind to bypass this zombie philosophy stage.

Reading The Bible As Literature

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

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Throughout human history, religion and spirituality have been great dividers and greater unifiers. While the Left wants to do away with religion, it remains important in the lives of most people on the globe, with only the self-referential first world dissenting.

Bruce Charlton cited a recent Amerika post as a means of continuing his ongoing discussion into future Christianity as a pivot point on which the West can turn should it decide to fight the pervasive evil currently crippling it. His point:

I can certainly see how he would make this interpretation. There is a common, misleading and unfortunate habit – both from real Christians and anti-Christians – of supposing that the Bible (or the New Testament, or Gospels. at least) must be 100 percent true, when taken literally (i.e as statements of facts and universal laws) one sentence at a time.

I can see how this situation has arisen, given the tendency of Men (and nowadays especially ‘liberal Christians’) to distort Christianity to be compatible with those secular and political ideologies which are that person’s primary motivation.

Amerika is thankful for this mention on a blog that many if not most of us read regularly. This allows the introduction of an important topic, which is how to understand a book like the Bible.

The sensible approach to religion comes to us from the Perennialists and Traditionalists, who are the opposite of fundamentalists. Any philosophy which bases the origin of thought in material is materialist, including atheism, but also including fundamentalism, which respects the granular Word more than the spirit it is designed to convey.

In the Perennialist view, every religion is an interpretation of reality including its metaphysical level. The best of these see the physical and metaphysical as parallel, or sharing the same pattern organization. From this perspective, it is the patterns of Reality — not the words describing them — that forms the basis of the religion.

Turning to Christianity, we see a book that compiles the best of European, Hindu and Mediterranean thought into a simpler form, like a novel with interspersed poetry and aphorisms on philosophical and metaphysical topics. Much of the book is told through the history of an ancient people, and the rest, as the life of one of their prophets.

To interpret this book, then, it makes sense not to read it for details — as Charlton argues — but to look at it as a story. In stories, people are confronted with challenges, and make choices as to what to do, and those choices in turn change those people, much as in life. For that reason, what matters is more the end results of each action than any particular detail of its explanation, because those may show where the character is within the arc of his action.

Meaning reveals itself not in the instant but over the course of many instants, with the final notion making sense only in the context of the whole story. This conflicts with the categorical thinking of the modern time by which we can classify an action as good or bad based on type, or look at a detail and understand the principle behind it.

Charlton makes a good point. Perhaps it is borne out in the original text, so it makes sense to inspect it. The paragraph quoted from the Bible reads this way in its full form:

But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,

Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.

And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also.

Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.

And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.

And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.

And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again.

But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.

Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

Reading this as literature, the bolded portion is the point: if your love is based on self-interest alone, it is simply self-serving. Kant makes this point beautifully as well, which is that those who act for personal gain are not acting morally, but selfishly, even if their acts appear altruistic.

In other words, this is an anti-altruism rant that appears to be a pro-altruism screed. The point being made is to detach benevolence from personal gain. This in turn means the opposite of how most interpret the few lines quoted in the original post:

“Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.”

Which on a surface view appear to be specific advice, not part of a parable or metaphor. The same confusion applies when those who read Plato’s Republic believe his ideal republic is a prescription, when in fact it is a thought-experiment used to demonstrate the failure of systems, since in order to improve upon the natural best state of humankind, we must enact a bizarre set of rules and balances which would make life inhuman and miserable, a lot like modern society.

Charlton takes another avenue to arrive at the same realization:

But really it is nonsense! Nonsense in general, and in this specific instance; because Jesus obviously did not intend this this statement to be taken as a universal law – for two reasons, one because he did not himself behave this way, and two because it is impossible to behave this way.

We could add that any specific virtue, pursued exclusively, leads to sin – and that therefore no statement or rule is universally applicable – but ought to be taken as part (typically a small part, given the large number of specific virtues) of that larger whole of ‘Good’. Jesus was crystal clear that the Good human life is not one of passively obeying a list of rules (i.e. Phariseeism); it was the inner motivation that mattered supremely – plus of course a willingness to repent our many and frequent inevitable moral failures.

A future Christianity will take this into account as older Christianity did. Read as literature, the Bible tells a story of a population which survives through militancy, but then faces a new challenge as it succeeds and becomes a larger civilization: how to keep its population morally disciplined so that social order stays intact by people individually doing the right thing, instead of relying upon the law (personified by the Romans) which frequently is wrong or stupid.

In fact, a broader message emerges, which is that most people are doing wrong as part of the everyday behavior of people in an advanced civilization. The mechanism of civilization itself starts to work against us at a certain point, like how a rocket to space encounters entirely different pressures upon itself once it leaves the lower atmosphere. If both pre-civilization and civilization are not accounted for, the rocket explodes; the Christian method is to eschew enforcement — symbolized by the crucifixion — in favor of constant personal moral alertness that evil lurks in personal gain that is detached from the principle of doing what is right, even when brutally inconvenient.

At the end of the day, this is what “love your enemies” actually means, once we set aside reading the Bible as propaganda and start to read it as literature, much as we should read Plato, the Bhagavad-Gita or any of the other influences incorporated in the Bible.

Snapshot: The Problem Of Christianity

Friday, October 28th, 2016

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On the Right, anger rises over Christianity. Too often, Christians are seen paying lip service to conservative values, and then either going Leftist or adopting a stance of passive resignation, congratulating themselves on their moral sacrifice while letting the disaster gain strength around them.

In the former, Christians confuse the “universality” of Christianity — that there is an order of God which applies to some degree to all individuals — with universalism, or the idea that this order applies identically to all individuals, the same way they misunderstand equality to mean zero hierarchy.

Like the original idea of equality, Christian universality was originally intended to mean that all people are given the same chance to rise above themselves. Unfortunately, there are two glitches: as Baron Evola points out, written religions quickly become universalist because they confuse the exoteric with the esoteric, and people will naturally re-interpret any concept of “same chances” as “same outcomes” because it flatters their egos.

Thus, we find a design flaw in Christianity… the Word is its own enemy because its meaning crumbles under the onslaught of individualistic interpretations. Some say the solution is Catholicism, but this makes the problem worse by providing a centralized area of interpretation which is then gamed like any other political resource. In fact, our current Pope who has more in common with Communism than Christ is proof of this.

The pagans laugh at this, but ignore a problem in their own approach. By not writing anything down, they guaranteed that it would be lost instead of corrupted, but this is more a function of its declining popularity than the method of “graceful failure” designed into it. Christianity won because it had basically the same values and could be spread easily to larger groups.

In fact, it might make sense to view Christianity as a superior spiritual technology. Its simplified nature makes it perfect for groups, and by making people act in unison, it can be a powerful mass motivator. This strength is also its weakness, because when it becomes corrupted, it encourages insanity just as strongly.

However, this problem is not found in Christianity, but in the nature of mass motivation itself. Any sufficiently motivating force will be misinterpreted because individuals interpret rules, words and symbols in the manner most beneficial to the individual, that is, closest to “anarchy with grocery stores.”

Centralization fails for this reason, or at least is only part of the puzzle. Christianity in history represented a bubble, first gaining great strength, and then losing it once the Christian idea — the burden on each individual to get right with God — became hammered into the usual human entropy, or equality.

This leaves us with a troublesome situation. Christianity is not, as Nietzsche alleges, the origin of liberalism, but its victim. It was however complicit in leading to the power of liberalism because of its focus on the individual. At this point, it becomes more of an “alternate reality” into which conservatives slip instead of addressing the world, perhaps a consequence of its dualistic view where the only perfection is found in heaven and Christians should simply wait for that instead of trying to get it right here in life.

Our real problem is the tendency of conservatives to throw up their hands at the world and go back to what they were doing. For over a century, they have been doing this. They rationalize that somehow the situation will work out, or that the Left will fall when its programs fail, or other ways of making an excuse and going back to work so they can pay the taxes that fund the State.

This is why many of us growing up in the 1980s ran from both conservatism and Christianity: the only people we saw who admitted to these beliefs were absolute morons or were moral weaklings who had permitted the situation to come about in the first place. You will not find many Generation Xers inside of a church or Republican convention for this reason. To us, these groups appeared as retards and liars.

One needs only to look at the lyrics to the only real Generation X artform, death metal and black metal, to see the rage at Christianity and conservatism explode. The broken wings of angels and desecration of all purity are popular topics. In the Gen X worldview, Christianity and conservatism were the forces holding us back while the world burned.

In particular, Christians and conservatives indulged in the illusion that everything in the world turns out just fine if all of us work hard at our boring jobs and pay those taxes. Just lie back and enjoy it, in other words. They said this because any actual rebellion would personally inconvenience them, and they were “Me Generation” too!

In our present time, many on the Alt Right think that a return to religion will save the West. This is also an illusion based on personal convenience. The West needs to bootstrap itself by ending the insanity and nurturing sanity, which is a bigger question than religion.

In fact, at first, it is oppositional to religion because people need to understand how nature and the world work before they seek a spiritual meaning, or they will end up in the same dualism that convinced their ancestors to do nothing while insanity took hold.

We need brutal realism. This takes a form that includes religion, but only in parallel with other vital institutions as expressed in the four pillars. Religion is not the cause; realism is the cause, and religion is one of the effects or methods and principles used to achieve the goal, which is a golden age of civilization.

To understand this, we need to go back to the pagan origins of Christianity. In this view, there is no Word, only variant interpretations of an ur-spirit that pervades all existence. This spirit is not oppositional to reality, as it is under dualism, but united with it or patterned in parallel to it, through a doctrine called monism.

This way, we can understand religion in its proper role: as a tool for understanding some aspects of reality, only in parallel with realism. It does not stand on its own. It is not a cause in itself. It is a means to an end, and that end is clarity about reality, both physical and metaphysical.

By doing so, we allow a space for religion — which more important than bringing comfort, brings joy to many — that does not allow it to subvert the rest of our needs and turn us into solipsistic individualists who shrug and go back to work instead of confronting vast social problems head-on.

The Ongoing Death of Christianity — Election 2016 Edition

Friday, October 14th, 2016

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The Book of Jude warned us well of the advent of Cuck Christianity. The relevant verses follow below.

16 These people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage. 17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.

The 2,000 year old warnings found in Jude’s little-known epistle ring true as Christianity continues to degrade itself from the Passion of Christ to the legalism of the Pharissee. A vote against the will of these Real Christians, is indeed a toll pass via the express lane of AC/DC’s infamous Highway to Hell.

The gist of the conflict is that Christians, who have decided that Donald Trump is so evil and immoral that any vote for him is to approve of and even become complicit in his sin, are questioning not only the character but the salvation of those who support the GOP candidate. This condemnation encompasses even those reluctant and melancholy warriors for conservatism who are voting for him as a strategy to stop the advancement of a leftist political agenda that dominates a corrupt Democratic Party…

Are we really laid over for torture at the hands of Crom’s Devils if we urge our compatriots to vote against the type of people who are frustrated that Hurricane Matthew didn’t clean out more trailer parks to effectively scare the sheep about Global Warming? It depends on which whinging voice of Cuck Christianity is out there a-preachin’ it for Hillary. There are two versions of this sort of Neo-Judaizer Heresy – weak and strong.

The weak version relies on a passive-aggressive Tim Kaine interpretation of the Word. Erik Erikson starts his faux-reconsideration of being in #NeverTrumpout as follows.

The truth is, with headlines about Clinton’s emails, terrorist attacks, the Obama Administration’s advancement of transgenderism in the military, etc. I have been actively reconsidering my opposition to Trump. I’ve done it in conversation with friends, in prayer, and in quiet time dedicated to considering the future. In short, I see the election of Hillary Clinton as the antithesis of all my values and ideas on what fosters sound civil society in this country. Further, she should be in jail.

Once you’ve pretty much decided the opposition candidate is Alicia Capone, you’ve basically laid out your moral duty. You vote for the guy that will chain her up and parade her through Georgetown as part of his inaugural triumph. To weasel out of condign retribution against said career criminal, you’re stuck having to tear down the individual on the other side to a level of base deplorability that requires you to support Attila the Hag. And then get the muck off your hands a wee bit better than poor, old Lady MacBeth ever could.

So we get the predictable riffs about how Trump isn’t ¡PROLIFE! enough to fit in with a Congress that never had the guts to put a single piece of Pro-Life legislation on President Obama’s desk. We’ll elide past the historical illiteracy necessary to plant the axiom that a pride of Conservative Lions exists in today’s GOP. Let’s be sporting and temporarily let our #NeverTrumper claim that Trump could undermine this thin red line of heroes. I issue this intentional walk to get after the nasty beneath the beatific Churchian exterior.

When I see Christians defining deviancy down to justify a political decision, I see a real problem for the church. When I see Christians saying we have license to choose bad men because God chose bad men, I see the sparks of apostasy…The level of fear many of my friends have towards what a Clinton Administration may bring has turned to desperation and desire for a protector….While I concede they may be right, what I see is a level of desperation causing them to place their trust in one strong man instead of God.

The poor dears are just scared and don’t know any better. In the end, the accusation reads that any Christian of holds his nose and votes for Chairman Donald over Dear Leader Hillary has been frightened, unmanned and reduced to a gibbering blob of Glenn Beck worshiping at the foot of Trump Tower rather than the sacred cross. I’m sure the son of Jerry Falwell who recently said pleasant things about Mr. Trump has taken down all the Crucifix art he owns and replaced it with Trump Fuzzy Dice instead. Such ridiculous and small-hearted ecclesiastical nastiness hasn’t been this fashionable since Jimmy Carter won the Iowa Caucus in 1976.

There is also a stronger version of this heresy afoot that fears no killer rabbits. It preaches the fire and brimstone as if Making America Great Again would erect once more The Tower of Babel. If an angel descends and then Reverend Metaxas from Texas bursts into blue, incandescent flame, I will humbly seek forgiveness and admire the wisdom of Ed Rogers.

I wonder if this is the end of the evangelical movement within the Republican Party. Trump’s strength in South Carolina, of all places, is alarming. Many evangelical leaders, who can be so quick to point out the moral failings of others, are strangely silent concerning Trump’s shortcomings. How can they reconcile fidelity to their faith with a vote for Trump? How do they overlook Trump’s personal qualities and behavior? What about the morality of entrusting the presidency to someone with the temperament and questionable judgment we have all witnessed from Trump? I would like some answers. I find it hard to believe evangelicals are supporting Trump because of his policy positions, since he doesn’t have many. They can’t be supporting Trump because of his faith or godliness…

Alas Babylon, Ed Rogers. Alas Babylon. Rather than acting like he has the right to question the faith of churchgoers who vote athwart his divine commandmants thundered down to the mere mortals in the pews, he should ponder another question. How can a church that by all fair-minded and rigorous accounts is having its ass flambéed on any given Sunday like the 2008 Detroit Lions justify questioning the temperament and judgement of its rapidly declining membership. Maybe the people who no longer seek out salvation in the same church as Ed Rogers kinda-sorta have a point.

The starting Center from that Detroit Lions team looked in the mirror and saw reality. “I’ve got to live with this.” He lamented. “I’ve been here eight years. This is on my resume.” If we wake up on November 9 with a 50-49 Hillary victory, this will be true of #BibleThumpForNeverTrump. They will get to live with it as well. They will have elected a POTUS who will empower, hire and enrich a set of functionaries who at least empathize with the sentiment that nothing quite smells of lovin’ like an Evangelical in the oven.

Every single last one of these slimy #NeverTrumpers thinks they can leverage this betrayal to climb out of The Basket of Deplorables that Hillary has assuredly assigned them to and land a fat “loyal opposition” gig at CNN, Fox or K-Street instead. There were people like this all over China and Russia during these countries’ respective Communist Revolutions. They were the ones that got lined up against the wall and shot first.

Even the feckless and maladroit British Army leaders that lost the Thirteen Colonies were smart enough to significantly demote Benedict Arnold after his treason. They could not afford to see this sort of thing rewarded. It’s something for a #NeverTrumper to chew over for a bit if they ever seriously and sincerely reconsider their current trajectory into moral oblivion.

The Sacrifice

Saturday, October 1st, 2016

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Donald Paulson looked out over the football field. The goalposts were draped in flags and a stage was set up in the endzone. A warm breeze, with hints of summer to come, wafted over the field. And then the figures in long robes took to the stage.

He could remember just a few years before when his daughter Marianne had been a toddler with cute, giant eyes. Don saw her each morning before work, and in the evenings, although he had to admit that between being tired and the four light beers he gulped down to reset his brain after work, the memories were hazier there. Now she was graduating high school.

The principal made a speech. She compared the future to a path across the ocean for the first Native Americans to reach the new world. Don got another beer; luckily, the concessions stand was still alive for this event, just as it was for football games. When he returned, a teacher was speaking.

She spoke of the importance of being moral citizens, and how her own time and effort — more than on simply teaching the material — had been spent in illustrating this sphere, which she saw as the true world her students would someday live in. She compared it to Plato’s cave and ended with a quotation from Martin Luther King Jr.

Don waved at his neighbor, Ron Lehman, who had shown up late. Wishing he had known of that option, he returned to listening. The class valedictorian was now speaking. She started by comparing the mind to an investment portfolio, and the need to have balance and diversity in investments. But, she added, all of this only added up to real value if when it was cashed out, the money went to making the world a better place.

It took Don’s breath away. The speech was perfect. She knew all of the right symbols and clicés and the order to put them in, which made them seem not like clichés, but newly discovered wisdom as if transmitted from the heavens. He found himself clapping at the end, and then straining to see the figures marching across the stage. He got a good picture of Marianne as she accepted the paper, and a blurry one of her teary face.

He found himself in the car, alone, staring straight ahead as he waiting for the throng of traffic — slowed by the need to wave to people, fiddle with cell phones and chat in the car — to exit the parking lot so he could follow. He felt tears, but not in his eyes; in his chest. Like all realizations, this one surged from within: his child was now lost to him.

She would go out into the world, find a job and a husband or wife, and then she would need nothing from him. He then had no handle of control on her, no way to compel her to pay attention to him, because her needs would be met elsewhere. It reminded him of losing his first college girlfriend to a drug dealer named Hog. Cocaine and a Camaro were more important than whatever he had to offer her, which he reflected, happened only a year after his own graduation.

***

As he parked his car back at the house, Don looked up toward the two-bedroom slanted roof house he had purchased after the divorce came through. Where the other house felt like it had personality, this reminded him of an apartment. He had covered it in his stuff, nostalgia and diplomas, but it still felt like a temporary space, maybe a conference room with beds.

“Hey, Don,” came a voice. Ron was hailing him from the middle of the street. Don waved back and waited for his neighbor to make his way up the walk to the front door. “Quite a day, isn’t it? I am so proud of our Jayden, as you must be proud of Marianne. They’re heading out into the big world now, to try to do better than we did.”

With an exhalation, Don recalled why he almost never talked to Ron: the man was a religious fanatic, and he was always injecting these moments of meaning into ordinary conversation. Those inevitably pointed toward Ron’s extended thesis that the country was going to hell, and could only save itself if everyone turned to Jesus.

Don did not hate Jesus. He liked to say he thought of Jesus as obsolete, but really, he was disgusted by him. The church for him implied pickup trucks and domestic beer, unthinking patriotism, and other coping behaviors he had no use for. He opted to split the difference.

“Exciting times, for all of us,” he said. “Those kids are heading out into a world with a lot more opportunity than we had. All the technology, and all the great jobs that come with it, and buying a house has never been easier. Not like the bad old days we had to fight through.”

“True, but what will they do with it?” Ron answered. “Most of the world still lives in poverty, or are stuffed into that awful Section 8 housing with bad air conditioning. There are now nearly fifty nuclear enabled nations, and tensions in five regions of the world. Women still have not cracked the grass ceiling, really, nor have we come really far in equality for the obese. If only there were some way to wake them up, spiritually, our kids would face a better world.”

Ron had experienced a religious moment once, Don recalled. After too many watery beers at one tailgate party, he had told them about it. “The truck flipped seven times,” he had said. “Like the seven trumpets. And then I was lying there, feeling my body grow cold, as the paramedics worked on me. And then I saw it, a light in the sky. And I knew that I had to come back to living, and spread the word of God, because it is the only thing that will save us from the animal in ourselves.”

Don toed some rocks back into place on the decorative drive. “For me, the hope is that they have compassion,” he said. “Things like politics, economics, even religion, they all separate us from the human dimension. That we are here to care for each other. If we care, we can change. If we can change, we can set everything right, and then we will have a society that all others can look up to.” It was like winning yard-of-the-month, he thought.

“In my experience,” Ron said, “the only path to compassion is through Christ. Without Him, we have only pity for ourselves that we use to relate to others. That makes us feel better, but it does not show us the real light. When people come to Christ, the light spreads from the sky to their souls, and they become enlightened about what we should be doing down here. That’s how I see it anyway.”

Don thought he should ask a question, so he intoned, “But what practical value can it have?”

“Oh, many,” said Ron. “But because we are simple little humans, and not able to see the secrets of God, we won’t know about them until we go looking for them. We need to have a spiritual heart, and then we can see not just what is true, but where we are needed. Christianity is more like a compass than a place and time, if you know what I mean.”

“I guess that is the role compassion serves for me. If you don’t mind a bit of a challenge, what does religion do that is different from compassion? Compassion is the soul of humanity: we treat each other well, by understanding the feelings and needs of other people. Without compassion, we are just business transactions.”

“That’s a good question, Don. I would follow up by asking you this. When you start a project at work, do you know exactly what you are building — you’re an industrial engineer, as I understand — entirely, and how it will look at the end?”

“Yes,” said Don. “Well, and no. We have a spec sheet, we know what it has to do, and we know how other units like it have been designed in the past. There are always environmental influences however. These just crop out. This is probably the most frustrating part of my job. On this last job, we had an actuator that stopped working because the machine next to it generated steam, and the metal hulls trapped it, so the humidity was too high…” he trailed off, finding himself becoming animated, but Ron nodded.

“…for it to operate. So yes, I know what I am doing, but I do not know exactly what it will look like in the end, but it will still be the same basic design. Like compassion: compassion is the design, and the specific circumstance is the person, but you can apply compassion to that person and everything turns out just fine. In fact, better than fine, because you have a single design that you can apply everywhere and understand everything. Getting closer to God.”

“That certainly sounds challenging. The thing is, you never know exactly what it will look like. That is a lot like life. What we want is often not what we need. When Suzanne and I started looking for a house, in a neighborhood, we wanted a colonial in closer to the city. But then we came out here, and it met all of our needs, so we bought a house we never thought we would want.”

Don laughed. “For me, that kills the joy in life. The essence of compassion is passion. A passion for living, an intense emotion, that gives meaning to our lives. If I want a certain type of house, I can chase my passion and get it. That way, I feel fulfilled not by what the world hands me, but what I have done to it. How I have changed its design.”

They both looked up at his current house, obviously no one’s idea of great design, and laugh. “This is my post-divorce house,” said Don. “I don’t think I care much about houses anymore. But the point is, you know, that I need to know what I want and specifically intend it, so that my passion is fulfilled. Compassion allows us to do that for others, and see where their passion needs addressing, so we can understand them and, I dunno, get along with them. Then we all get our dreams.”

Ron looked at the house. “It’s a nice house, I think. It does what you need. In my experience, most of what we think we need is just what we want, and we came up with that because we saw it in an ad, or a friend did it, or it was on a favorite TV show. When we have spiritual purpose, it is more like knowing where we want to end up, but realizing that it will not take the form we want. We look for where we can do God’s work instead.”

Don found himself feeling a bit tired and irritable. “Without compassion, however, we have nothing. No connection to our fellow human beings, no purpose in life, not even any basis for truth or morality. Without compassion, we are nothing more than animals. Compassion lifts us above this world, brings us closer to the heavens, and shows us what is right not based on principles, or results, but on the human soul. It is a human order.”

“In fact,” Don went on, “Life without compassion is empty. With no connections to others, we will never reach out again, and we are just isolated, like living on our own personal islands. When I discovered compassion, it changed my life. No longer was I just some dude living in the suburbs. Now I was part of something bigger, like a spirit, that is better than this ruined world and shows me the way.”

Ron thought for a moment, chewing on his inner lip slightly. “What if someone does not want compassion, or disagrees with you that it is the most important thing?”

“Then that person is evil. Compassion is beyond thought, mathematics, money, logic, physics, and religion, which is really a form of politics. Compassion is a pure sensation through which we understand the core of the universe and all the beauty of life, all in one instant. Those who have not experienced it will not understand it, and in that state they are evil.”

“Well, now I feel evil,” said Ron. They both laughed. “Do you think Christ was compassionate?”

“He was a politician,” said Don. “He wanted them to do what he told them to, first, and only later be compassionate. That ruined his message for me.”

***

That night, Don slept in his king-sized bed which adjusted to his posture and made the mattress firmer in different parts, cushioning him. It connected to his cell phone through bluetooth, and he could lie in bed and adjust the frame, hearing the motors whirring above and feeling as if he were in a spaceship, sailing over the world, in command of his destiny.

As the moon rose and faded, he passed into dream. Some call this lucid dreaming, because the dreamer is able to influence the dream, but Don had no time for that mumbo-jumbo. His dreams were always of Africa, where he arrived dressed in white and brought water, medicine and hope to remote villages of starving people. In his dreams, he fought off bad guys — usually Chinese, sometimes Arab — with spears and guns, taking many wounds and slaying many men, to deliver his people from suffering. Above it all the sun shined with a warm compassion for life itself.

But tonight, he found himself in a dark forest clearing. Columns of fire leaped up into the trees but did not burn them. At the back of the clearing was an altar, and around it were people in dark robes, their eyes covered in sunglasses. Reflected in those lenses he could see the blaze and the red eyes of the hooded figure seated on a throne behind the altar.

Hail, Master! Praise Him!
Invisible one, lord of light!
Most beautiful angel
Son of power, giver of control
Praise Lucifer, Master of this world!

As the people chanted, dark creatures — as tall as a wall, with heads of boars and bodies of giant crickets — hacked away vegetation and led in the sacrifice. Ron swallowed his gasp, aware that others would notice. The children in their graduation gowns filed past, marched to the altar. As each reached the front, the beast lowered his scepter.

Each person in the audience held up a cell phone. Don did the same. On his phone, he saw scenes from the life of the child: the first four failed loves, the job which felt like a jail sentence, the marriage that burned out, the children that blurted out just how much they hated their parents on their first acid trip — a rite of passage, following the 60s model Don had adored — and moved as far away from home as possible, the rising salary and decreasing involvement with the outside world, finally a retirement to endless television, then a slow death from some disease that ate them from within.

As he watched these lives, Don saw that the crowd was excited. These were good jobs, and normal lives. He felt compassion for the sacrifices. This was their purpose, just as his was to be a watcher. He saw the procession of misery, emptiness, self-hatred, doubt, coldness and detachment and found himself smiling. And then Marianne was next. The crowd turned to him. Don forced himself to smile, and they turned away.

He watched her life scroll past as it progressed from hopeful innocence to a certainty of nothingness. He felt compassion in that moment, and it made him feel good. And when the sacrifice was over, he joined the chant:

Hail, Moloch! Lord of the Eye!
Praise the Master of all Death
He who brings suffering on which to feast
We delight in the pain
We join thee, Destroyer
In you, we are complete
We are power
Hail to the Master of Masters,
Lord of Death and Decreptiude
Hail Moloch, Hail!